Dane Lloyd & Taylor Jones, both from Blackwood, South Wales, are the musical duo – Into The Ark. When they first met, both had been solo performers. Dane was 18 and Taylor was only 14. They quickly realized that not only did they have the ability to harmonize perfectly, they both, had an equal passion for writing and performing. Coincidentally both were also lovers of the same music.
They began street performing in Cardiff and after a short period of time decided to become a duo. They went backpacking in Australia for a stint, then returned home to record a 4 track EP which they uploaded to YouTube. They went travelling again, this time to Tunisia, North Africa and whilst there performing, they were contacted by Sony Records who took interest in their music on YouTube. However, they ended up choosing Morse Code Management.
The pair appeared this year on The Voice UK and gained popularity by winning over the public as well as the judges in the first round of the live shows, that shot them right through to the quarter finals.
Their performance of ‘Burning Love’ (above) by Elvis Presley in their first audition – caused three judges to spin their chairs. Their performance of Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ was heavily praised by Will.i.am. They ultimately chose Sir Tom Jones as their coach who took them all the way to the FINAL where they conceded to Mo.
The duo were later blessed when Sir Tom Jones invited them on his tour as his opening act. This year the duo has toured and performed for adoring fans at many venues across the UK and Europe. In 2018, Sir Tom Jones & Into the Ark will commence a U.S.tour, including many major venues.
Into the Ark just released a great new single ‘Underneath the Sun’ (above) on their own Blackwood Records label in conjunction with the Kartel Music Group.
They have described the song as having “sun-kissed melodies and sweet vocal harmonies” of the 60s and early 70s. It was produced and co-written by the great Rich Turvey who cultivated the rich sound of The Blossoms. You can catch Into The Ark performing ‘Underneath the Sun’ at one of their shows.
Photographer Gareth Rhys, also from Blackwood, is a friend of Dane & Taylor and was thrilled when invited on tour with them during this new journey into their career and we are very pleased to share with our readers this tour diary photographed by Rhys for our latest issue Carbon Copy #25. As well as checking out the cool tour diary images, if you scroll down you will also see our interview with the band as featured in the issue.
UPCOMING SHOW DATES
Oct 18th // The Garage, London
Oct 21st // Tramshed, Cardiff
Oct 26th // Grandcafe De Doelen, Franeker (Netherlands)
Oct 27th // Tigh Barra, Joure (Netherlands)
Oct 28th // Neushoorn Arenazaal, Leeuwarden (Netherlands)
Oct 29th // Paradiso Amsterdam (Netherlands)
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1. Welcome, Dane and Taylor. It’s great to meet with you both for this interview. How has your success to date changed you if at all?
Dane: I don’t feel like it’s changed us personally, but the band has progressed and we are definitely noticing some changes with our confidence and the way we perform. The show was pretty intense and nerve-wracking knowing it’s going out live to millions of viewers, so going back to playing original music and touring definitely makes us feel more at home.
Taylor: I’d have to agree with Dane, I don’t think it’s changed me personally but it’s definitely given me the confidence to be more of a performer on stage. It’s also given me more self-belief in the music that we’re writing, to see that new audiences are enjoying what we do.
2. You’ve shared this before but can you tell us how you first met?
Dane: We first met in a small Welsh village called Trinant. We both happened to be playing a charity event as solo artists, when I overheard Taylor singing a John Mayer song. Bear in mind this was quite rare to come across in the valleys, so we began sharing our love for music with each other. We had a little jam on stage, we were only in front of friends and family but the response was pretty mad. It was pretty random, but the next day we had another charity event together as solo artists but decided to do it as a duo so our friendship and music grew from there.
3. What are some of the very first songs you remember while growing up, that contributed to your love of music and influenced your style?
Dane: There’s so many! Some of my favourite songs were Master Blaster by Stevie Wonder, Baby Be Mine by Michael Jackson and Blowin’ In The Wind by Bob Dylan. I just remember being in love with the groove these tracks had. Although Bob Dylan didn’t have a voice like Michael Jackson or Stevie, the soul was in his lyrics.
Taylor: The first albums that I bought with my own money as a kid were James Morrison and Paolo Nutini. It was the first time I realised I enjoyed listening to soul music and how both those artists were influenced by the soul music from the fifties and sixties.
4. What was it like in the beginning travelling and performing in Australia and Tunisia and what drew you both to those particular locations?
Dane: The reason we started travelling in the first place was to get away from the small town mindset. I feel like there wasn’t much of a music education here, so we wanted to see some different cultures and how they would react to our Welsh roots. I think the reason I picked Australia first is because it’s literally the furthest place away from home and I felt like I needed an adventure and to throw ourselves in the deep end.
Taylor: Going out to Tunisia was an opportunity to work on our craft and made us tighter as musicians together. We were playing six nights a week for six months, so this was good practice for future tours. Also, learning how to look after our voices and it’s also where we wrote a lot of the songs that we play today.
5. Having Sony contact you about your YouTube videos must have been quite a surprise. What was your you initial reaction?
Dane: Our first reaction was “WOOOOO we’re gonna get signed!”, but being quite naive to the business side of music it wasn’t that simple. Our first meeting with them they already mentioned changing our style, and if we’d gone down this path I feel like the music would have been very fabricated.
Taylor: “We’re gonna get signed it’s gonna be mint!” Luckily we followed our gut and turned it down, weeks later we signed as writers to Warner Chappell which allowed us to put on our first tours and focus on our original music.
6. Performing on The Voice must have been a thrilling experience. Tom Jones was very much in your corner. Now you are touring with him. Would you consider him your greatest mentor?
Dane: Yeah, he’s definitely living up to the legendary status. He’s really took us under his wing on tour and now we’re currently playing our biggest shows to date thanks to him.
Taylor: Yeah. Tom also gave us advice on how to deal with fans and the fame that comes with the show. Seeing how much belief he has in us has really made us step up our game and makes us want to perform better on stage.
Thank you Dane and Taylor, Gareth & the guys at Morse Code Mgmt.
Visit www.intothearkofficial.com for all social media links and get following the band!
7. What do you feel are the challenges of recording vs performing live?
Dane: The main thing about recording for us is we want to capture how we do it live, but sometimes that can come down to the producer. Sometimes what we’ve got in our heads is completely different to theirs. We’ve found it’s a case of trial and error until you find the right producer that works for you. We’ve just been in the studio with Rich Turvey at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool, the guy is a genius.
8. You are well loved by your many fans. How do you think your music will evolve as you grow your fan base, and is that something you think you can predict?
Dane: We’re noticing our fan base isn’t just young people, after doing the Tom Jones shows a lot of the older crowd relate to our music as well. I think it’s because we’re influenced mainly by the fifties and sixties. We know as we mature, the music will mature and hopefully they’ll follow us on this journey.
Taylor: It’s cool to see that even in the space of a year, the live set has evolved quite a lot especially after adding Adam our drummer to the band. Hopefully in the future we can expand the band and bring in more live musicians.